3 WANs of Different Speed - Effect on users?

  • I have 3 ADSL Lines successfully connected to pfSense 1.2.2

    WAN1 is a 4Mb line
    WAN2 is a 4Mb line
    WAN3 is a 1Mb line

    In the load balancing pool I've added WAN1 4x, WAN2 4x and WAN3 1x.

    My understanding is that that is "splitting" everything into 9x 1Mb connections?

    The real question is, when users open internet explorer and open a page, will they will only get a max of 1Mb?
    Does Internet Explorer split the traffic into multiple requests allowing them more than 1Mb?

    If not, it makes sense to me to not include WAN3 in the setup and rather load balance across WAN1 & WAN2, that way users can at least reach a max of 4Mb?


  • There is a 1/9 chance the user will end up with a max 1 Mbit connection. (and 8/9 he will use one of the 4Mbit lines).

    However since a webpage usually consists of multiple objects over different servers, the browser will usually create multiple connections.

  • Thanks GruensFroeschli,

    But surely if I've added the 4Mb 4x, it's not longer a 4Mb, it's now 4x 1Mb?

    So 9 people could each get a theoretical 1Mb and only more if their Internet Explorer was capable of creating multiple connections?

  • OK, having thought about it some more, I see what you mean…
    Just because it's added 4 times doesn't mean it'll 1/4 the speed, pfSense doesn't know what the speed should be anyway.
    But there's a 1/9 chance it'll end up going down the 1Mb lines GW, however, if the browser is creating multiple connections, this shouldn't really make a difference because while 1 connection may go down the 1Mb's GW, the rest of the connections may go down the 4Mb's GW?

  • Yes.
    However the 1Mbit line has probably also a lot less upstream.
    For sending emails or similar you might consider leaving the 1Mbit line away.

    For this create two pools, one only with the 4Mbit lines
    and one with all lines.
    (9MbitPool and 8MbitPool)

    Create an alias containing all the destinations with should be balanced by the 8MbitPool,
    Create an allow firewall rule at the top with as destination the created alias and as gateway the 8MbitPool.
    Modify your current allow all rule to use the 9MbitPool.
    Make sure the allow all rule is below the pool with the destination alias.

  • Great, thanks so much!! :)